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'New approach needed on digital divide'

Credit: Jens Kalaene/DPA/PA Images

There are calls for a new approach to teaching digital literacy to stop welsh children falling behind.

That's according to a report by Wise Kids which found less that half of pupils thought their school's technology was sufficient.

It surveyed over 2000 Year 9 pupils (aged 13 and 14) across Wales looking at their online and digital media habits and says it reveals a disconnect between children's digital experiences at home and in school.

Wise Kids says there needs to be high quality technology and internet access in all schools and improved digital literacy training for teachers.

Professor Graham Donaldson is currently undertaking a wide-ranging independent review of curriculum and assessment arrangements, including digital literacy. He is due to report back early in the new year.

As part of his review, Professor Donaldson will be considering the recommendations made by the independent ICT Steering Group on the future of computer science and ICT in schools in Wales - including the group's recommendations in relation to digital literacy.

In the meantime our Learning in Digital Wales Grant has enabled almost every school in Wales to benefit from improvements in enhanced internet connectivity or in-school Wi-Fi provision. This is opening up real opportunities to deliver 21st Century teaching and learning in today's digital society.

We are addressing many of the issues raised by this report and we will look carefully at the information to identify any further potential improvements in our provision.

– Welsh Government Spokesperson


£8.1 million for training at Airbus

Broughton makes wings for all airbus aircraft. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire/PA Images

First Minister Carwyn Jones will today announce an £8.1 million funding package for training at Airbus at Broughton, in Flintshire, which employs 6,000 people.

It will enable the workforce to exploit new technology at the site.

The announcement will be made at Wales' UK Investment Summit at the Celtic Manor Resort near Newport.

This funding will help safeguard jobs at Broughton and ensure we remain at the cutting edge of new technology and innovation in a fiercely competitive global market.

Airbus makes a major contribution to the Welsh economy and employs 6,000 people in North Wales in a world class, highly advanced manufacturing facility responsible for assembling more than 900 Airbus aircraft wings a year.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones

Wales has 'worst phone signal coverage in UK'

London has the best coverage for 3G and 4G signal Credit: PA

Wales has the worst phone signal coverage across the UK, according to the consumer watchdog Which?

In a recent study using mobile phone apps, Wales was found to have the poorest 3G and 4G signals in comparison to the rest of the country.

The research used data from of 39,294 phone users of the EE, O2, Three and Vodafone networks. Results showed:

  • London has the best coverage
  • Three has the best 3G coverage with Vodafone users having the poorest
  • 4G speed in the UK has almost halved in the past 12 months

Which? is now calling on network providers to give customers information on coverage levels.

We've looked at consumers' real-life experiences and found big differences in service between mobile phone providers, depending on where you live or work.

We're calling on providers to publish the reliability and speeds their networks actually achieve so people can make an informed choice before signing on the dotted line.

– Richard Lloyd, Executive Director of Which?

Free wi-fi hotspots to be unveiled in Cardiff

Over the next few months, libraries, museums, civic centres and business centres will offer free wi-fi in Cardiff. Credit: PA

Thirty buildings in will be transformed into wi-fi hotspots as part of a 12.6 million UK government investment.

Venues such as Cardiff Castle, Central Library, the New Theatre and St Davids Hall are all set to go live as hotspots by March 2015.

I want Cardiff to have world class internet connectivity so businesses, families and visitors can take full advantage of the increasing demands of the digital age.

This is a big boost for our capital city and will make Cardiff an even more attractive place to live, work and invest in.

– Alun Cairns, Wales Office Minister


New e-safety resources launched for Welsh schools

The resources hope to improve the safety of students on the internet Credit: PA / Arne Dedert

Schools in Wales are to receive two new resources aimed at encouraging safe and responsible internet use for pupils.

The resources, which have been created based on others in use across the UK and globally, will be formally launched later by the Minister for Education and Skills, Huw Lewis AM.

One is a self-assessment tool that allows schools to judge and improve their online safety, while the other is a resource pack for teachers, which aims to help them in teaching their pupils about the importance of responsible online use.

A screenshot of one of the resources - the 360 degree safe tool Credit: UK Safer Internet Centre

These two resources, uniquely produced for Wales, will be available to all schools across Wales to use and hope to help schools improve their e-safety, as well as developing digital literacy skills in their pupils.

There’s no doubt the internet and social technologies offer huge possibilities for learning and research, for communication and collaboration and for limitless creativity. That’s why we recently made a big investment in upgrading the broadband infrastructure for schools in every part of Wales.

Indeed, 86 per cent of schools are now receiving the desired connectivity at the agreed level or better.

However, we must also recognise that there are darker corners of the web which children and young people will encounter from time to time. _ _We’re committed to safeguarding all children and young people across Wales, and this is equally true in the online space.

– Huw Lewis AM, Education Minister

Work due to start in Wales to introduce superfast internet speeds

Work is due to start in every telephone exchange in Wales by the end of September next year to introduce superfast internet speeds to more villages and towns across the country.

Communities from Aberdaron in Gwynedd to Skenfrith in Monmouthshire are set to benefit from the Superfast Cymru programme. Credit: PA

Communities where work is set to begin before the end of September 2015 as part of the Superfast Cymru programme include Aberdaron in Gwynedd, Capel Curig and Dolgarrog in Conwy, Brechfa in Carmarthenshire and Skenfrith in Monmouthshire.

They will join hundreds of communities across Wales where fast fibre broadband is already live or due to be switched on.

The Superfast Cymru programme is ambitious and challenging, bringing fast fibre broadband across Wales. We should not underestimate the sheer scale of it.

From Aberdaron in Gwynedd to Skenfrith in Monmouthshire communities will have the option of accessing fast fibre broadband. This is a tremendous achievement and excellent news for businesses and households.

By the time the Superfast Cymru programme is completed in Spring 2016 Wales will be one of the most highly connected countries in Europe with 96 per cent of premises able to access faster internet speeds."

– Julie James AM, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology

One in five Welsh people have never used the internet

Latest figures show that almost one in five Welsh adults have never used the internet - many of those are older people or those living in disadvantaged communities.

This week, events are being held across Wales to encourage people to sign up for free workshops.

'Get Online Week,' aims to encourage people without digital skills to learn how to log on and start using the web in their daily lives.

20% of people in Wales have never used the internet before Credit: PA

Organisers say the 20% of people in Wales who still can't use the web and are missing out on huge opportunities to alter the way they go about their lives such as online shopping, banking,and staying in closer touch with family and friends.

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